Promoting good financial governance and fighting fraud and corruption affecting public funds was the focus of a three-day regional conference that came to a close today in Panama City. Delegates from across Latin America (1)
and Europe attended the event organised by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the European Commission EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The participants agreed upon the need to strengthen cooperation between the national and international services responsible for the management and protection of public funds.
Between 2007 and 2013 the European Union will spend 2.5 billion euros in Latin America in order to reduce poverty, consolidate good governance and strengthen economic cooperation. It is for the beneficiary countries to ensure the correct use of these aid funds, in close cooperation with the EU Commission services as well as OLAF when it comes to fraud, corruption or other serious irregularities. In this respect, OLAF is seeking to develop cooperation arrangements with national authorities so that fraud can be prevented and the perpetrators brought to justice.
"Our fight against fraud must be as international as the fraud itself. We're stronger when we work together to detect patterns of fraud, investigate it, and bring to book those responsible. This conference has helped build the relationships and strategies that will allow us do that," commented OLAF's acting Director-General Nicholas Ilett.
During the conference, participants shared experiences and best practices of effective anti-fraud techniques and committed themselves to work proactively and collectively to protect public funds. They also pledged to strengthen ties with national and international partners to tackle corruption, increase transparency, and promote good financial governance.
A culture of cooperation and accountability has been fostered through a series of similar regional conferences supported by OLAF and EuropeAid since 2007. It is the first time such an event has taken place in Latin America.
OLAF’s (European Anti-Fraud Office) mission is to protect the financial interests of the European Union, to fight fraud, corruption and any other irregular activity, including misconduct within the European Institutions. OLAF is part of the European Commission, but remains independent in its operational and investigative functions and does not take instructions from any other EU Institution or from any government.
The EuropeAid Co-operation Office is a Directorate-General (DG) of the European Commission which provides development assistance worldwide. Its primary mission is to put the European Commission's external aid instruments to use in close collaboration with its partners.
Head of Unit Spokesman,
Communication, Public Relations
European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Rue Joseph II, 30 B-1049 Brussels
Phone: +32 2 296 72 00
Fax: +32 2 2998101
(1) The following 15 countries were represented: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay.